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Risky Business of Hiring

Sign me up ..making major decisions with minor information

 Remember TMI?  An expression used when someone had crossed that communication line and provided “too much information”.  Oftentimes, it meant that the information was “way” too technical, too personal or too detailed for the listener to have the patience or desire to absorb in one (or any) conversation. 

After an employee has failed or disappointed us again, do we ever reflect back to the interview and think did I experience “TMI” or was it more like “NEI”…not enough information?

 Were there red flags we missed? We mentally go through our “good hire checklist”.  They had the right experience, professional demeanor and even a good education and training.  Where had we gone wrong?

If this is the first time, we brush ourselves off promising we won’t let it happen again.  If not, we begin to doubt our abilities to get the “right information” in the interview, or worse, we blame someone or something else.

 Reasons Employees Fail

Let’s review some Hiring Success Basics.  Studies show that the top three reasons people fail are due to:

a) Incompetence

b) Incompatibility

c) Dishonesty

 Which of the three reasons does your company most often experience? When meeting with new clients, the most popular answer received is A or B with a disclaimer that “we usually don’t have a problem with C”.

 Companies advise that they don’t have to worry about reason C because their employees don’t handle money or they are doing background checks…which are effective if the person has been caught.  Repeat fraud offenders represent only 12% of the white collar fraudsters according to the Certified Fraud Examiners Association’s Annual Report in 2004. Quite an alarming statistic!

 What about accepting company work “on the side”, sharing confidential information with competitors or misusing computer data?  Even playing on the computer, cell phone abuse and general carelessness has been coined a new term.  Known as “presenteeism”, it means spending paid work time on any activities but work!

Because business dishonesty = stealing money in most employers’ minds, do not be dissuaded from doing background checks on prospective employees!  They can serve as a legal safety net and provide other necessary and useful information.     

 One Employer’s StoryRobber Me

 One small employer hired a key employee highly recommended for her trustworthiness, performance and drive. The employer recognized the promise and talent of the potential employee, though lacking the usual industry experience. The employer mentored the new hire through some personal challenges initially, until the employee’s focus and productivity returned. Due to health challenges after fourteen months, the employee regretfully quit to convalesce at home. 

Imagine the surprise felt by the staff, when the former employee was spotted at a trade show three months later, as the proud owner of a competitive company!  Imagine MY surprise when I learned my former employee had spun almost a year-long web of deceit resulting in lost company revenue, diverted relationships and, of course, lost time, for my company.

 When relating my unfortunate experience of years ago with other employers, many retort …”want to know what happened to us?”  The stories all began with the phrase …”we had this ____.” It was just a matter of filling in the blank with any title.  The amounts of money, time and resources lost, due to the acts of deception and theft perpetrated, often by those whom the employers had embraced as their hardest working employees, were staggering. 

 Reference Check Hurdles

 Most companies caught unawares indicate that references had been checked.  And today references can be challenging…almost like running the 1 mile hurdle race. 

Tenacity is the name of the game.  Jump those hurdles of former co-workers, peers, employer validations and third party reference checks only.  Don’t be swept up in the emotion of the gushing reference. 

Ask for the former employer who may have been restricted from giving a reference in the past. Call them by using their new company’s main number to locate the “real person”, instead of their cell phone number.  Get former happy and unhappy customers or vendors to tell you how their interactions were handled.  The “diamond in the rough” reference may be right in front of you.


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"Pat brings her charm, wit and insight into her advisory relationships and shares the same with her audiences. She's got the systems to back up her concepts."

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